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New World Library Unshelved

New World Library Unshelved

Positive news and inspiring views from the New World Library community

Thursday, May 28, 2015

As Westerners, we are so fortunate to live in 2015. Technological advances are moving at a lightning-fast pace, communication is more instantaneous than we ever imagined, and our levels of comfort have skyrocketed in the past one hundred years. However, there is one thing that the twenty-first century has not given us, optimal health.

In the United States alone, according to a January 2015 release of statistical data by the American Heart Association, roughly 80 million American adults over twenty suffer from hypertension; 131 million adults have high cholesterol levels; and one in ten American adults suffer from diabetes, 90 percent of whom have type 2 diabetes. According to the National Cancer Institute, roughly 40 percent of all American men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. In addition, 13.1 million Americans are on drugs for anxiety, and 13 percent are on prescription antidepressants. If we are so intelligent and advanced, why are we so sick?

It may be easy to make the argument that we are living longer lives and therefore see more diseases in the aging. While part of this argument is true, diseases like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and cancer are infiltrating the young at a staggering pace.
We are constantly researching better drugs, medical interventions, and more efficient ways to diagnose disease, and yet the statistics do not improve. Perhaps it’s time we looked to the wisdom of the past to create a healthier future.

Ayurveda, a five-thousand-year-old medical system from India, has withstood the test of time. This medical science integrates all aspects of health: physical, emotional, spiritual, relationship, career, environment, and life purpose. While Ayurveda is all inclusive and advocates using other healing modalities if they work, it teaches each individual to reconnect with the body’s natural intelligence for healing.

Who Can Fix Me?

In the West, we are accustomed to looking outside ourselves for a solution to a problem. Growing up, we were conditioned to “listen to our doctor as he knows best.” Intuition is not a twenty-first-century value. We live in the information age. And if a drug is supposed to lower blood pressure, we take it without regard to its side effects or efficiency over the long term.

Conversely, Ayurveda helps you go to the root cause of the illness and cut off its air supply, so to speak. To take the example of high blood pressure, an Ayurvedic practitioner might help you look at your diet, exercise habits, emotional health, relationships, and job satisfaction. A regime of meditation and yoga, a balanced diet, and a job change may be the right prescription to keep your hypertension in check.

Another disadvantage of looking outside yourself for healing is that you don’t get to intimately know yourself and what makes you well. Ayurveda teaches you your natural propensity for health by identifying your mind-body type, which in turn will enlighten you about ways to remain in balance so you are much less likely to get sick.

Taking Responsibility Means Empowerment

Have you ever taken charge of a situation and felt great afterward? It gave you courage to take on another challenge. Being proactive with your health means taking responsibility and taking charge. As an Ayurvedic practitioner, I’ve noticed that clients often play Russian roulette with their health. They know they are supposed to exercise or eat better, but they have the “tomorrow” syndrome. Then, out of the blue, it seems, they are diagnosed with cancer or heart disease, and they seem to have absolutely no idea where it came from. This sort of self-deception can be not only scary but deadly.

To change this pattern, you can start by writing down everything you eat each day. Notice the times of day you eat and your emotional state. Then write down how much you move. Do you exercise once per week, twice, or not at all? Bring awareness to the people who make you feel good in life. Is there a trusted friend you can spend more time with? Or is there a toxic relationship you need to leave? Are you happy with your career? Awareness is the first key to taking charge and taking responsibility for your health and for your life. Once you are aware, holistic practices like Ayurveda, yoga, and meditation can help you improve the parts of yourself that are ailing.

It Starts with You

Our society’s mind-set about health and wellness will not change unless we change as individuals. We need to take care of ourselves just as we take care of our cars, houses, and loved ones. And once this awareness reaches critical mass, change can begin on higher levels. Imagine a world where each person honors his or her body and health; where seeing a doctor for an illness is a rare occasion but your doctor is your trusted friend who knows you for who you are; and where Band-Aid fixes like prescription drugs are a ghost from the past.

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Michelle S. Fondin is the author of The Wheel of Healing with Ayurveda. She holds a Vedic Master Certificate from the Chopra Center and is a member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association and Yoga Alliance. She treats clients at her Ayurvedic Path center, speaks and offers workshops, and lives in Herndon, Virginia. Visit her online at

Based on the book The Wheel of Healing with Ayruveda. Copyright © 2015 by Michelle S. Fondin.


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